Hostage Rescue in Colombia

15 hostages, including 3 Americans have been rescued from FARC in Colombia.

French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, three US nationals and 11 other hostages were rescued from Marxist FARC rebels Wednesday, freed from years in captivity by a daring Colombian military raid.

Betancourt, who was captured in 2002, and the three Americans held since 2003, were rescued along with 11 Colombian soldiers in dramatic fashion when the Colombian military infiltrated a rebel jungle camp and removed them by helicopter.

A plane carrying the Americans, Defense Department Contractors, is about to land in Texas.

Sen. John McCain was in Colombia today and said he was told about the rescue while there. He said it was a coincidence.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Coincidence? I think not. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by dianem on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:22:26 PM EST
    Well, according to Fox, anyway, which (according to Salon's War Room) suggested that McCain being in Columbia had something to do with this.  Oh... and have you heard - Reagan single-handedly ended the cold war.

    I had to break my media boycott. (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Joan in VA on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:31:41 PM EST
    This is wonderful news.

    Extraordinary. Betancourt (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:38:24 PM EST
    on the tarmac so together as to give her interview, after all she has been through -- although I fear we have heard only the beginning, with word now that she was subjected to incessant "humiliation" by her captors. . . .

    But the contrast between the video a year go (I think) of her so morose and gaunt in captivity vs. her ebullience today on the tarmac was amazing to see.  And the reunion with her mother -- and tomorrow, there will be the reunion with her children, whom she had to send away for their safety even before her abduction.

    May her hopes be met about the dozens still held hostage -- that they won't be harmed for this.


    Hooray! (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:46:04 PM EST
    Spectacular news.  No way was it a coincidence, by the way.  But whatever.

    Great news. Coincidence? I don't know. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by RosieScenario on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:19:02 AM EST
    If this was staged, wouldn't McCain take credit in some way?  Or wouldn't the FARC announce they cooperated in releasing these hostages without violence out of respect for McCain?  Or something?

    Or maybe McCain just forgot about the memo he received.....lol.

    Great news... (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by kredwyn on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:51:38 AM EST
    Glad these folks can sleep in their own beds soon.

    I'm glad for the rescue. (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:29:14 AM EST
    Of course, I watch the news from Colombia on Caracol,  and I was suprised today at the morning news shows talking about the three Americans, missing the point completely that 11 police and soldiers, as well as Betancourt, were rescued.

    This is huge in Central and South America. It's good news, in my opinion, whether McCain or Zippy the Pinhead was there.

    So... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:45:27 AM EST
    ...I guess the rescued American hostages are now fully qualified to be POTUS.  

    The power of the incumbent party (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:32:15 AM EST
    surely does not come as a surprise.  And we ought not be surprised that there will be more such apparent coincidences.

    McCain handled it with modesty, and Obama handled it with a good response as well.

    So now, the question is whether Obama can come up with his own surprises on the Repubs.  That's all.

    Well that's it then. (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:46:10 PM EST
    Because of this, millions of undecideds just decided for McCain.

    Rove is just brillianter and brillianter.

    The coverage in La Nacion, (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by MsExPat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:53:17 PM EST
    which is the main Buenos Aires newspaper, is quite extensive and good. If you can read Spanish, go there (www.lanacion.com). They've got a sidebar on la presidenta (love the sound of that title!) Cristina Kirchner's involvement in trying to get Betancourt released. Both Kirchners have been working on this for some time (they were behind the scenes players in the FARC hostage release las Feb.)

    Interestingly, the Latin American coverage treats McCain as a footnote. Instead, there's a lot of commentary about how Hugo Chavez has been dissed by all this. He was famously using his supposed pull with FARC to broker hostage deals--but the Colombian National Army, and Uribe, has end-run him.

    Another factor that's been overlooked in the U.S. coverage is Sarkozy. Ingrid Betancourt is a French national as well, and Sarkozy has also been behind the scenes working diplomatic channels for Betancourt's release.

    My theory, FWIW, is that this was mainly a Colombian Army intel op. But most of these guys have trained with, and intensely liase with their US counterparts, so I'm sure that the plans were known in advance to US military, State Dept, and McCain (possibly through his adviser with longtime ties to Colombia). I don't think they timed the operation to coincide with his visit, but he may have known it was in the works, and decided to, mmm, overlap.

    Ransom paid... (3.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:46:57 PM EST
    for McCain to look like a hero.  This is mega contrived.  

    High-level FARC officials were arrested (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by daryl herbert on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:57:07 AM EST
    unless the U.S./Colombian government paid FARC not only for the hostages, but also to arrest a few high-level officials, this was an honest op.

    There was no ransom. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Fabian on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:53:38 PM EST
    It was an infiltration of the kidnappers.  Standard intel and law enforcement work.  

    That is what they say (3.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:06:13 AM EST
    C'mon, this was staged with some big bucks from somewhere.  Someone got something.  I am really skeptical of such a big event with Uribe having the Republicans there, McCain Lieberman etc.  This is really great for the hostages, but this is primo dirty GOP tricks.  

    I say: whatever it takes. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:17:20 AM EST
    Me too. (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Fabian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:21:14 AM EST
    I'm hoping it's sound intel & law enforcement because there are literally hundreds of kidnap victims being held in Colombia.  Good work by the authorities leads to hope that more may be freed.  

    I'm tired of election season outrage now.  Talk to me about The Economy and Climate Change, I'll listen.  Wild conspiracy theories?  No thanks.


    What is wild about this? (3.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:06:34 AM EST
    The "rescue" was gonna happen, the US embassy was in on it.  They give McCain a heads up to be there,  Boston Globe
        Between a formal meeting with Cabinet members and dinner at Uribe's presidential retreat on Tuesday evening, McCain and his companions, Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, were briefed on the classified details of the rescue operation already underway -- a courtesy not routinely extended to foreign presidential candidates.
        "I think it was a sign of confidence of President Uribe and the defense minister in Senator McCain, and maybe in the two of us, that they were prepared to share this information last night which was highly classified," Lieberman said.

    Would you have been happier (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Fabian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:28:11 AM EST
    if they had invited Obama instead?

    McCain being there is tabloid trivia.  The real point is that Colombia may be making real progress on one of their national security problems.


    Hahahahha (none / 0) (#30)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:35:38 AM EST
    This was arranged and paid for. The timing of the release reminds  me of those color coded homeland security alerts that always seemed to go off when BushCo needed some cover.

    Haven't you learned by now.


    Will BTD do a post titled: (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:42:47 AM EST
    Does Being in the Know on Rescue of FARC Kidnap Victims Qualify McCain to be President?

    It's All About Us! (none / 0) (#33)
    by Fabian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:47:55 AM EST

    We've gone from "It's all about Obama!" to "It's all about McCain!".

    Not an improvement.  


    Well In Case You Missed It (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:57:21 AM EST
    We have an election coming up. A biggie, imo. But feel free to  change the channel if it bores you.

    Really, I do get it. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Fabian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:10:42 PM EST
    There's an entire nation hanging in the balance and we focus our attention on McCain being in the right place at the right time to crash someone else's party.

    This is NOT what I look for in a Presidential candidate.  Arranged coincidence is not leadership.  It's just taking advantage of an opportunity to cash in on some free publicity.

    Obama did that too.  It's a pol thing, not a GOP thing or a Dem thing.  


    Reminds Me (none / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:29:31 PM EST
    Of the many BushCo coincidences, more than anything else. Particularly the timing of the alerts.

    Or (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:54:44 AM EST
    More of the same with McSame.

    "The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' " The aide told Mr. Suskind, "That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality."

    Ron Suskind


    Are you kidding? (none / 0) (#50)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:12:23 PM EST
    It's not about us, but some friends in Columbia, US embassy, did McCain a favor.  Why is that so hard to understand?

    Heh, it was sweet payback by Uribe to the Obama people for all the Columbia brouhaha, with Bill and Penn, remember that?  

    Heck if I was Uribe I would call my friends the Republicans to get Obama camp.  


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:16:58 AM EST
    Obviously the smoking gun you are looking for would have to be something from BEFORE McCain came to Colombia.  The "coincidence" is that he was in the country at all.

    I think it's obvious that such things don't happen by coincidence, but this incident bears all the hallmarks of a legitimate rescue operation.  Recall that the world has wanted to save these people for many years, it's not like it was just a matter of someone snapping their fingers and creating a political advantage.

    The most plausible scenario is that the Bush Administration got a heads up on the rescue attempt in advance of it actually occurring - which has already been widely reported - and a little bird told the McCain campaign "hey, as long as you're doing all this world traveling, you might want to find a reason to be in Colombia on July 2."  Not hard to believe at all.


    The World does not revolve (3.66 / 3) (#26)
    by facta non verba on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:12:04 AM EST
    around the United States.

    Como colombiano, tus commentarios son un insulto al pueblo colombiano y al Presidente Uribe.

    As a Colombian, your comments are an insult to the Colombian people and to President Uribe.

    Dream up your conspiracy theories and you'll only look the fool, which is what you are, that and an FARC apologist. Vete al diablo.


    Thank you, and yes, this took a lot of time (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:29:11 AM EST
    to set up Colombian government being able to figure out how to infiltrate and then establish trust to the point that the plants could make this work so well.  We could learn from it.  (No Waco, this.)

    Sure, McCain must have gotten a heads-up to get there on the Colombians' schedule.  I prefer that to the possibility that it was delayed until he could get there.


    Delayed... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    a la Ronny Reagan and the Iranian hostages?

    Ya can't put nothing past these bastards...they've got no qualms about playing chess with people's lives.  

    Besides, with the obscene amounts of money we give the Colombian govt. every year, they wouldn't dream of doing a thing without Uncle Sam signing off on it.


    He doesnt need this petty bs (none / 0) (#42)
    by knowshon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:26:10 PM EST
    to show he is a hero.  Already done.

    Heroism (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:29:10 PM EST
    On parade. Or something like it.  

    Let me grasp the allegations - (none / 0) (#13)
    by knowshon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:37:33 AM EST
    - McCain, W, and the Colombian Govt were in concert to fake a hostage taking so JM could swoop in to Colombia to save them, but not really save them, but be real close when they are saved by his buds in the Colombian govt, so he could get 19 seconds on the networks.

    The Left arent stupid.  They are brilliant in their contortions.

    NO (3.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:09:15 AM EST
    The US embassy was in on it, they invited McCain to be there.  What is so friggin hard or conspiracy theory about that?   Out of the blue, McCain shows up.  I bet the Columbian's were proud to do it after Obama made such a big deal with Bills relations with that nation.  

    No conspiracy, opportunism and a good dose of payback.  


    And what if all didnt go so well? (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by knowshon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:29:34 PM EST
    M would really have looked like the fool.  btw, the NYT reports McCain found out about the plot 12 hrs AFTER he arrived in Colombia.

    Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the (1.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Ellie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:21:37 AM EST
    ... the world, McCain walks into the one where he's be briefed on the impending rescue of the Colombia hostages.

    I'm shocked, shocked at the suggestion this was more than coincidental.  


    WOW (none / 0) (#44)
    by knowshon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:35:27 PM EST
    What an incredible stunt.  McCain will surely win the election bc of this.  Its as brilliant a move as..... the one concocted by the ChimpyBush/Cheney/Blackwater/Halliburton 9/11 folks.

    Oh, and so ya know, Kool aid man has THREE ice cubes in his head unlike the 5 reported by other storm troofers.


    Heh (none / 0) (#16)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:29:37 AM EST
    Now THAT is a spectacular strawman.

    Apparently, commenters here like the (none / 0) (#47)
    by knowshon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:06:04 PM EST
    dry stalk of a cereal plant.

    Totally Agreed (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jane in CA on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:39:28 AM EST
    Let's at least give the rescued hostages and their families time to savor their release before we begin politicizing this event.

    Arrogant, flamboyant. (none / 0) (#15)
    by knowshon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:54:09 AM EST
    Nothing More.  Love to see these name-droppin State Department types.  No substance.  No meat.  Just references to others and what they say.  

    Pick and choose the selections you like from other world leaders and use the quotes to criticize the US.  You are legally allowed to do it.  I would never dispute that.

    But, wow.  I wont look further.  NUTS has been proven, and everything else is comic theater.

    Keep it comming!!

    The US morning news, as an edit to my post (none / 0) (#25)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:29:52 AM EST

    All this 'just happens'...riiiiight (none / 0) (#27)
    by SeeEmDee on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:16:03 AM EST
    Just like the Uribe government isn't a major 'client state', brimming with oil, which accedes to US policy demands with nary a moue of protest.

    Just like the use of the US taxpayer supplied anti-drugs monies being pumped down there isn't being used against political opponents to the elitist-supported, Big Oil-backed  Uribe government.

    Just like the Uribe government hasn't been spraying the fields (and children!) of campesinos not involved in drug manufacturing with poisonous RoundUp and other chemicals...all in the name of keeping nose-candy out of the bazoos of Americans...all in our name.

    Yeah it's great that the hostages were released, but lets look at the bigger picture, which has everything to do with oil and damn little to do with drugs or anything else.

    From Time (none / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:26:56 AM EST
    via digby:

    The Bush Administration had come under increasing criticism this year for seeming to forget about Stansells, Howe and Gonsalves [kidnapped 2002/3]. But it can now openly claim, as U.S. officials had privately done, that it was simply allowing the Colombians to mount today's rescue. One fortunate politician who can bask in this American policy victory is John McCain, who just happened to be visiting Colombia when the rescue was announced.

    cough cough

    Heh (none / 0) (#36)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:13:25 AM EST
    Similarly, I guess we are magnanimously permitting Pakistan to take credit for capturing bin Laden.  It's very big of us.

    Apparently John McCain is in Mexico (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:15:36 AM EST
    City now.  What will be the big news from there today?  

    The Fence...the fence (none / 0) (#51)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:14:49 PM EST
    Repercussions? Some pretended to be aid workers... (none / 0) (#52)
    by jawbone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:37:41 PM EST
    Some of the military (intel? special forces types?) took roles that got them into FARC leadership, but some also took being humanitarian aid workers from various countries as their cover.

    Repercussions may be against actual humanitarian aid workers.

    Thoughts on what this might lead to?

    I am delightted Betancourt and others in safety-- (none / 0) (#53)
    by jawbone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:38:51 PM EST
    just wondering how this may impact real aid workers. And not only in Colombia.